Srey*, 16, is a girl from the Tampuen minority group who is in Grade 10. Reaching this point in her schooling has not been easy, but a little financial support has allowed her to continue learning so her dreams are within her reach.
“When I was studying in primary school, I was living with my uncle,” says Srey. “It was very much difficult since my house was very far from the school. Moreover, I didn’t have the money for buying study materials or uniform at all. Because money was short, I not able to attend school regularly and not really able to pay attention to my studies. I didn’t have courage to speak out or to discuss on the issues I encountered with my parents at all.”
Since 2015, Srey has received a scholarship from CARE Cambodia under the Education for Ethnic Minority project. She now stays at the school boarding house, sharing a large room with 15 other students. This scholarship has helped her and many other indigenous students progress in their studies.
“I am very happy that I have received this scholarship for the past 4 years. It has really helped me a lot in my studies and my living by providing me the money for daily foods, for buying school uniform and study materials. It even allows me to travel to visit my home. This has really helped reduce the expenditure of my parents as well. Because of this scholarship, I have been able to continue at school and I am getting good results!”
Besides scholarships, CARE Cambodia has provided wells, hands washing basins, computers, printers and solar panels to secondary schools in Ratanak Kiri. CARE has also delivered the training courses to the students on life skills and reproductive health, particularly important for teenagers such as Srey who are living away from home. “In the past, we never knew about personal hygene, especially when having our menstrual period,” she shyly shares.
Srey concludes: “In the future, I want to be a geography teacher in order to earn the income for supporting my family, and to help the other Tampuen children in my village so they have the same learning opportunities and can be knowledgeable like me. Without this scholarship, I would not have hope that my future goal can be realized”.
CARE also offers scholarships to students like Srey with support from Australian Government and range of private donors.
CARE’s work supporting education for ethnic minority students is supported by the Australian Government and many other private donors.